Commentary Magazine


Political Damnation

Robert Knight of the Media Research Center, a conservative watch-dog group, is unhappy with me. In a piece I wrote for this past Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, I criticized Concerned Women for America (CWA), a group whose Culture & Family Institute Knight once directed, for the way it uses religion in the service of social conservatism. As I wrote:

For a taste of [intolerant fundamentalist] views, visit the Web site of Concerned Women for America, which bills itself as the “nation’s largest public-policy women’s organization.” Its mission is “to protect and promote biblical values among all citizens,” the Bible being “the inerrant Word of God and the final authority on faith and practice.” As for dissenters from CWA’s stand on issues like the “sanctity of human life,” a handy link to Bible passages explains “why you are a sinner and deserve punishment in hell.”

Knight calls this a “vicious mischaracterization,” so gross a distortion “as to constitute a lie.” My “out of context” quotes, he writes, have nothing to do with CWA’s position on “spiritual outreach.” Indeed, “nowhere does CWA state or imply that people will be sent to hell because of their views on public policy.”

Well, here is what leads CWA’s Web page titled “About CWA” (the links below are live on the page as well) :

CWA is built on prayer and action.
We are the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization with a rich 28-year history of helping our members across the country bring Biblical principles into all levels of public policy.

What We Do
We help people focus on six core issues, which we have determined need Biblical principles most and where we can have the greatest impact. At its root, each of these issues is a battle over worldviews.

Clicking on these links, you quickly discover that CWA’s “Biblical principles” are exclusively concerned with winning salvation through trust in Jesus, with hellfire held out as the consequence of refusal. As for the “core issues” where these very same principles are needed “most,” they include “family,” “pornography,” and, of course, the “sanctity of human life.”

Maybe I’m missing some subtle, inclusive context here, but the clear point of these passages and links seems to be, as I argued, that those who disagree with CWA’s social agenda will have a hot time of it in the afterlife.